–The program expands in 2021 to include farmers of color from Georgia and Florida in addition to the original states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia–
–Interested BIPOC farmers are encouraged to submit an interest form—
Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI-USA) is pleased to announce the second round of grants from its Farmers of Color Network Infrastructure Fund. The program provides grants of up to $10,000 to farmers for projects to increase farm viability, support farmers’ local food economies, and preserve traditional farming practices.
RAFI-USA Executive Director Edna Rodriguez said, “We are pleased that we are able to expand the states we will serve in 2021 to include Georgia and Florida, thanks to an incredibly generous and growing group of funders. In these challenging times, in which black farmers and other farmers of color continue to face systemic discrimination — whether by local bankers and landowners or the U.S. Department of Agriculture — we are even more grateful that we can help farmers of color in the South to grow their assets and businesses. Farmers of color make up just 4% of all farmers; the Farmers of Color Network seeks to grow that number by investing in the creativity and innovation of traditionally underserved farmer communities.”
RAFI-USA launched the Farmers of Color Network in 2017 to assist farmers in accessing farm infrastructure resources, securing land and other assets, supporting farmer-to-farmer learning, and providing technical support. The Infrastructure Fund builds on the success of previous RAFI-USA regranting programs and focuses exclusively on farmers of color in several Southern states.
Some examples of projects supported by the 2020 Farmers of Color Network Infrastructure Fund include on-farm genetics and breeding research on crops and livestock; conversion of existing infrastructure into new uses; purchase of fencing to convert to intensive rotational grazing; refrigeration for expanded on-farm processing; and construction of high tunnels for season extension.
Interested farmers of color should complete the Network Grant Interest Form in order to receive a formal application in mid-January 2021. Applications will be due in early February, and grant awardees will be announced in mid-March.
Pictured: Joseph Fields, a reciepient of a 2020 Farmers of Color Network Infrastructure Grant.
RAFI-USA challenges the root causes of unjust food systems, supporting and advocating for economically, racially, and ecologically just farm communities. We envision a thriving, sustainable, and equitable food system: Where farmers and farmworkers have dignity and agency; where they are supported by just agricultural policies; where corporations and institutions are accountable to their community. RAFI-USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Pittsboro, North Carolina, and incorporated in 1990.